Saturday, October 13, 2012

looking toward the future.

 i had planned to begin another series of pre-natal classes in cienfuegos this morning. things got out of control this week, though, between a short-term mission group staying with us and some unnecessary pressure about my schedule from the university and i just wasn't able to make it around the neighborhood in search of the ladies.

it takes so much more than a poster on the wall or a mass email to past members. in order to really connect, it takes foot power - and honestly, at noon, when the sun is highest in the sky in the hottest month of the year, i'm not looking forward to walking streets with little shade. and beyond that, i hate having to face the poverty - to look at people in their eyes and keep walking.

 while i feel like our humble little school can change lives, i know that it is a long term plan and now, right now, people are still living surrounded by garbage, breathing in toxic fumes of burning plastic and tires. and it is ohsomuch easier to stay in our school, where i don't have to confront the truth of this place.
 i dread looking down into the valley filled with trash, to see children bathing in contaminated canal water, drinking from the water where others relieve themselves. to see men and women and children carrying packs in the hot sun, working harder than i ever will to provide for themselves and their families.
but. once i begin to walk, i remember how much i love to be here. men sit in a colmado playing dominoes, stop their game to shoot the breeze for a few minutes, giving directions to find women they think might be pregnant - sending me ways i've never been before to meet new people i might never have had the chance to come across. women offering to spread the word, god bless you! 
and in the midst of all this lack of material wealth, i find hope. friendliness. joy. 
 this guy, felix, wanted us to take a video of him running up the hill with his sack of plantains. we talked for a few minutes - he's 35 and has a 19 year old daughter. teenage parenthood is a generational epidemic. his smile met his eyes, and it wasn't just because he'd met a group of sexy gringas.
 i hate that i have students who suffer from chronic respiratory problems, who have rotten teeth from lack of clean water and toothpaste. i hate that i can't turn on computers and pull up educational games - because they don't exist and there are so many barriers. this is not an equal playing field. but then.

i see that it's not the end of the world. there's still love and community and hope. , we've got the whole future to look forward to.

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